Jazz guitarist Chris Standring reimagines his best

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Jazz guitarist Chris Standring reimagines his best

The album dropping June 21 consists of a dozen remixes, including the upcoming single, “Kaleidoscope” (Neptune Mix 2019).

STUDIO CITY (1 May 2018): Over twenty years and twelve albums into his career as a solo artist, chart-topping guitarist Chris Standring had no interest in putting out a typical “best of” album. After a gig, a fan approached him with a novel idea that did get his creative wheels spinning.

“I had thought about releasing a ‘best of’ for a long time, but it didn’t make a lot of sense because with streaming and downloadable songs, anyone can grab their favorite songs thus a compilation felt a little redundant. But then a fan brought me the idea to take my most popular songs and do something new with them. It’s nice to breathe new life into some music that has been around a while,” said Standring who drops “Best of Chris Standring Remixed” on June 21 on the Ultimate Vibe Recordings label.

The British guitarist remixed eleven songs from his catalogue of instrumental R&B, soul jazz and electronica, including the No. 1 Billboard Contemporary Jazz Track of the Year in 2010, “Bossa Blue,” and a 2014 Billboard No. 1 single, “Sneakin’ Out the Front Door.” According to Standring, the songs for “Best of Chris Standring Remixed” were selected based on two criteria.

“First and foremost, the popularity of each track. Most of these songs were heavily searched on the internet. Secondly, songs were chosen based on how each might lend itself to a remix,” said Standring, who will celebrate the album release by performing two shows at the Blue Note Napa in the heart of the Napa Valley on the record release date.

The only song not culled from a previous Standring solo album is the 1996 track “Stop It!” from an acid jazz band he was in called Solar System. One of his former bandmates and longtime songwriting partner, Rodney Lee, reconfigured that track along with four others – “Fast Train To Everywhere,” “Liquid Soul,” “Pandora’s Box” and “Sneakin’ Out The Front Door” – adding imaginative bursts of electronic ingenuity over chunky beats. British techno DJ Matt Cooper put a clubby trance vibe on three cuts – “Bossa Blue,” “Oliver’s Twist” and “Ready Steady Flow.” Standring’s only advance directive to Lee and Cooper was “‘Do your thing.’ I didn’t want them to be constrained in any way. And they certainly weren’t.”

Standring remixed four tracks himself, taking two swings at “Kaleidoscope.” The Neptune Mix 2019 version will be released as a single, collecting playlist adds on July 22.

Although placed in entirely fresh contexts, Standring’s guitar work throughout “Best of Chris Standring Remixed” – whether playing an electric jazz guitar or nylon-string instrument – remains at the fore, melodically embarking on lyrical runs, dexterous embellishments and impassioned finger-work forays.

A consistent hitmaker, the classically-trained guitarist basked in the glow of his “Sunlight” album last summer when it went No. 1 on the SmoothJazz.com chart. Standring notched three No. 1 Billboard singles the previous year, including duets with trumpeter Cindy Bradley (“Category A”) and two-time Grammy-winning guitarist Paul Brown (“Piccadilly Circus”). He was a first-call session player when he first came to America, recording with Jody Watley and Bebe & Cece Winans among many others before touring extensively with trumpeter Rick Braun.

In addition to playing spot dates such as a two-night Memorial Day Weekend stand (May 24 & 25) at Seal Beach’s Spaghettini, Standring will spend the year working on an album of all new music for release next year. In the meantime, he’s eager for people to hear his best material in an all-new way.

“My hope is that everyone embraces the experimentation that took place and simply loves it.”

“Best of Chris Standring Remixed” contains the following songs:

“Stop It!” (Mercury Mix 2019)

“Fast Train To Everywhere” (Jupiter Mix 2019)

“Bossa Blue” (Outside Mix 2019)

“Kaleidoscope” (Neptune Mix 2019)

“Liquid Soul” (Venus Mix 2019)

“Pandora’s Box” (Saturn Mix 2019)

“Sneakin’ Out The Front Door” (Earth Mix 2019)

“Soul Express” (Love Mix 2018)

“Oliver’s Twist” (Outside Mix 2012)

“Constellation” (Galaxy Mix 2018)

“Ready Steady Flow” (Outside Mix 2019)

“Kaleidoscope” (Cake Mix 2019)

For additional information, please visit http://www.chrisstandring.com.

NORMAN BROWN SHARES “THE HIGHEST ACT OF LOVE”

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Norman Brown “had to dig deep” when creating his upcoming album “The Highest Act of Love,” which will be released on February 22, 2019. He is ready to share this project and says, “I’m so excited about this record.” It took Norman two albums’ worth of music to create this very special one. He describes this record as a “framework for thinking and reasoning about life.”  When beginning the project, Norman visited his archived music and started from there. The first song he pulled was a demo of Deniece Williams’ hit “Free.” Ironically, it didn’t make the first round of songs selected for the album, but it definitely made the final cut. The collaboration with Deniece on her song was very special because when she heard it, she was elated, saying it was “incredible.” Norman also collaborated with Paul Brown on the first song on the album, appropriately titled “Inside The Garden of Peace and Love.” That’s where the journey for the listener begins. Kim Waters and Chris “Big Dog” Davis collaborated with Norman on the album, as well.

Listen to my in-depth and enlightening conversation with Norman:

EXPERIENCE “LIFE AND TIMES” WITH JAZZ FUNK SOUL

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When you combine three powerhouse musicians who have had amazing careers for decades, you are in for a masterful musical journey. Jazz Funk Soul was formed in 2014 with the late Chuck Loeb. The group made an instant impact and realized they had something very special. When the music world lost Chuck Loeb, it was obvious that no one could fill his shoes. However, Paul Jackson, Jr. had been filling in for Loeb when the band was on the road performing. Paul previously worked with Jeff and Everett in their individual careers, and they embraced the musical language he brought into the group. “LIFE AND TIMES,” the groups latest project, is set to be released on January 25th. The single “Windfall” was an obvious first release and a new sound from the project. It perfectly displays the individual gifts that each member possesses. Jeff, Everette, and Paul each believe that working together propels them to constantly reach higher levels of musicianship.

Listen to Jeff, Everette, and Paul discuss the project with me: 

STANLEY CLARKE

Stanley Clarke and his band of masterful musicians had an outstanding performance in Charlotte, North Carolina.

 

STANLEY CLARKE DELIVERS “THE MESSAGE”

Stanley Clarke is undeniably one of music’s most renowned bassists–with an astounding career spanning over forty-five years. On June 29th, 2018, Stanley released his latest album titled “The Message.” Clarke was accompanied by his virtuoso band mates Cameron Graves, Mike Mitchell, and Beka Gochiashvili. Also joining the band and having lent their talents to “The Message” are Doug E. Fresh, Mark Isham, Steve Blum, Skeyler, Trevor Wesley, and Doug Webb. This album was crafted while the band’s European tour was briefly interrupted in Paris. Fortunately for us, that unexpected extra time in Paris was put to great use, and it led to the creation of this project. Clarke says that his first thought once he heard the material was “how honest it was.” He would like everyone who hears this project to know that “The Message” is a “message of love.”

Listen as Stanley and I talk all things music and “The Message”: 

Stanley Clarke Band

Stanley Clarke Band

 

IT’S “A NEW DAY” FOR GREG CHAMBERS

For saxophonist Greg Chambers, A New Day has been 2 years in the making. He and his wife, Chelsea, have added the joy of parenthood to their lives, welcoming their baby boy, Owen. Greg is experiencing “balancing life and work.” A New Day was partially written and inspired by Owen, and the title, itself, represents embracing something new. Greg co-wrote all 10 original songs on the project and collaborated alongside Matt Godina, Nate Harasim, Lew Laing and Paul Brown. Working with Paul Brown provided “a different approach” that served as an inviting addition to the music. Chambers “enjoys the writing process” and is always “excited when working with other people and seeing the music take shape.”

Listen to Greg and I discuss A New Day

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MICHAEL FRANKS GETS INTIMATE WITH “THE MUSIC IN MY HEAD”

It’s been seven years since Michael Franks’ last album was released, and his fans are elated to receive “The Music In My Head” on June 8th. It is his 18th album to date in his 45 year career. Franks is known for his eloquent and poetic lyrics, clever song titles, and smooth charismatic delivery. Michael describes this project as “very true” and “very personal”– one in which you can hear and feel his “love for nature” as well as his everlasting love for his wife Claudia of 42 years. Once again, Franks has given us a plethora of musical gems while working in the studio with his musical comrades: Jimmy Haslip, David Spinozza, Gil Goldstein, Scott Petito, Charles Blenzig, Eric Marienthal, Gary Meek, Bob Mintzer, and Rachel Z. He feels especially blessed to have also collaborated with his dear friend Chuck Loeb on the song “As Long As We’re Both Together.” It would be one of the last recordings Loeb would work on. Franks’ collection of ten new songs embraces listeners and glides them through a journey of love, nature, science-fiction, old LA jazz clubs, and healing relationships.

Listen and enjoy my interview with Michael Franks:


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